A Golden Bull or chrysobull was a golden ornament representing a seal (a bulla aurea or "golden seal" in Latin), attached to a decree issued by Byzantine Emperors and later by monarchs in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The term was originally coined for the golden seal itself but came to be applied to the entire decree. Such decrees were known as golden bulls in western Europe and chrysobullos logos, or chrysobulls, in the Byzantine Empire (χρυσός, chrysos, being Greek for gold).
For nearly eight hundred years, they were issued unilaterally, without obligations on the part of the other party or parties. However, this eventually proved disadvantageous as the Byzantines sought to restrain the efforts of foreign powers to undermine the empire. During the 12th century, the Byzantines began to insert into golden bulls sworn statements of the obligations of their negotiating partners.
Other European monarchs adopted golden bulls in imitation of the Byzantines, but used them much more sparingly. The exceptional nature of non-Byzantine golden bulls gave them a much higher profile than either the Byzantine originals or ordinary proclamations. Notable golden bulls included:
- The Golden Bull of 1136, issued by Pope Innocent II, more commonly known as the Bull of Gniezno.
- The Golden Bull of Sicily, issued by 1212 by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.
- The Golden Bull of 1213, issued by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.
- The Golden Bull of 1214, issued by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor ceding all German territories north of the rivers Elbe and Elde to King Valdemar the Victorious of Denmark.
- The Golden Bull of Berne, supposedly also issued by Frederick II in 1218, but now considered a forgery.
- The Golden Bull of 1222, issued by King Andrew II of Hungary. This confirmed the rights of the nobility; it was forced on him much in the same way that King John of England was made to sign the Magna Carta.
- The Golden Bull of 1224 (the Goldenen Freibrief) was also promulgated by Andrew, granting certain rights to the Saxon inhabitants of Transylvania.
- The Golden Bull of Rimini (1226), issued by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.
- The Golden Bull of 1242 issued by King Béla IV to inhabitants of Gradec (today's Zagreb) and Samobor in Croatia, during Mongol invasion of Europe. By this golden bull King Bela IV proclaimed a Free Royal Borough (free and royal city).
- The Golden Bull of 1267, issued by King Bela IV of Hungary.
- The Golden Bull of 1348, issued by King Karel I of Bohemia, later Holy Roman Emperor as Charles IV, to establish Charles University in Prague, one of the oldest universities in the world.
- The Golden Bull of 1356 is probably the most famous golden bull, being a decree issued by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Its promulgation at the Diet of Nuremberg defined, for a period of more than four hundred years, the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire.
- The Golden Bull of 1702, issued by Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor to establish the Akademia Leopoldina in the Silesian capital of Breslau (present name: Wrocław), the future University of Breslau (Universitas Vratislatensis).
Other articles related to "golden bull, bull, golden":
... themselves and they persuaded the king to issue the Golden Bull, a royal decree summarizing and confirming their following liberties "royal servants" could not ... The Golden Bull (Act of 1222) The provisions of the Golden Bull were later confirmed several times by the kings (it was King Andrew II himself who confirmed them for the first ... and in Slavonia) could not enjoy all the liberties confirmed by the Golden Bull, because they still were obliged to pay their special taxes, but by the second half of the 14th century, they ...
... The Golden Bull of 1222 was a golden bull, or edict, issued by King Andrew II of Hungary ... The Golden Bull is often compared to the Magna Carta the Bull was the first constitutional document of the nation of Hungary, while the Magna Carta was the first constitutional charter of ...
... The Golden Bull of Rimini was a Golden Bull issued by Emperor Frederick II, at his court in Rimini in March 1226 to confirm the Teutonic Knights' possessions in Prussia ... documents, followed by the Treaty of Kruszwica (Kruschwitz) in 1230, and the papal Golden Bull of Rieti in 1234 ...
1212 Golden Bull of Sicily Determines the rights and duties of the Bohemian monarchs. 1218 Golden Charter of Bern Establishes Bern as an independent state. 1222 Golden Bull of 1222 Andrew II of Hungary grants Hungarian nobles the power to disobey the king when he acted contrary to the law ...
... The Holy Roman Emperor gave his approval of the enterprise in the Golden Bull of Rimini of 1226, granting them Chełmno Land, or Culmerland, and any future conquests ... Order was to receive Culmerland and any future conquests, similar to the terms of the Golden Bull of Rimini ... The Golden Bull of Rieti issued by Pope Gregory IX in 1234 reaffirmed the Order's control of conquered lands, placing them only under the authority of the Holy See ...